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UK non-profit crowdfunding for new reusable, 3D-printed facemasks to sustainably tackle NHS PPE shortage

UK non-profit crowdfunding for new reusable, 3D-printed facemasks to sustainably tackle NHS PPE shortage

  • Close to 60 million single-use masks currently needed every week by frontline NHS workers
  • UK-manufactured design delivers safe and environmentally-sustainable solution
  • Crowdfunding initiative to supply reusable masks free-of-charge to NHS
  • 250,000 reusable masks per week if £2.5 million can be raised to buy the 3D printers and further £1.5 million to buy the consumables

Xkelet NO PROFIT, a UK-based offshoot of an award-winning medtech company, Xkelet Holdings, has developed a safe and sustainable solution to the current life-threatening shortage of facemasks for frontline NHS staff. A fundraising initiative has been launched to supply the masks free-of-charge to the NHS & other frontline workers.

There is a global shortage of PPE that looks set to continue. The UK government recently disclosed that, by 2 May, 149 million facemasks had been distributed in England alone, since the start of the epidemic. It is estimated that close to 60 million masks are needed every week by doctors and nurses in the NHS. With the UK government now recommending that the public wear facemasks, supplies will be under even more pressure.

The environmental impact of transporting from overseas and then disposing of this staggering number of masks is yet to be calculated. A sustainable solution, that goes beyond the short-term fix of buying more single-use masks, is urgently needed.

In just two weeks, the Xkelet team has designed the XKmask; a 3D-printable, reusable mask that can be rapidly mass-produced, right here in the UK. The XKmask is now undergoing accelerated regulatory approval so that it is certified safe for use by doctors and nurses helping treat COVID-19 patients. Xkelet itself has contributed costs to undertake accelerated approval and has made available the intellectual property free of charge.

Emmanuel Meyer, Director at Xkelet NO PROFIT, said: “We couldn’t sit by and watch the struggles the NHS is having with PPE – we knew we had the know-how to create large volumes of medically-safe masks in Britain that offer a ‘once and done’ solution.

“Widespread mask use is already leading to additional pollution in places like Hong Kong. Now is the time to be thinking about how to sustainably meet the urgent needs for facemasks here in the UK.”

With 3D printing firm Photocentric’s support, a production centre can be rapidly established here in the UK.  This brings the supply much closer to the hospitals, reducing the time lag, as well as the pollution generated in delivering this much-needed PPE.

To manufacture an initial proof-of-concept batch of 2.500 XKmasks, Xkelet NO PROFIT has a £50,000 fundraising target. Ultimately, the ambition is much greater, with the potential to scale up to producing 250,000 reusable masks per week if £2.5 million can be raised to buy the printers and further £1.5 million to buy the consumables.

The innovative design means that only the filters in the mask need to be replaced and cost pennies (~7p/filter). The masks can be easily sterilised using UV light or washed under soapy water. Once the NHS’ need for facemasks has been met, the 3D printers will be redeployed to produce for other keyworkers, such as those in care homes, or adapted to manufacture face shields, valves for ventilators or whatever is required.

Xkelet NO PROFIT has been supported by leading audit, tax and consulting firm, RSM, in setting up the innovative company model and crowd funding platform. Whilst Evergreen Investment Partners is sponsoring the first phase, Xkelet itself has contributed costs to undertake accelerated approval and has made available the intellectual property free of charge. Photocentric will be operating the equipment in the UK to produce the masks and will donate the energy consumption to the project. The materials required to produce the masks are readily available and sourced in the UK.  This is a UK project, using UK sourced materials to get the reusable masks quickly and efficiently to frontline NHS workers.

About Xkelet NO PROFIT
For more details, go to: https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/print4heroes

About Xkelet
For more details, go to: https://www.xkelet.com/en/covid-19/

About RSM
RSM is a leading audit, tax and consulting firm to the middle market with nearly 3,800 partners and staff operating from 35 locations throughout the UK. For the year ending 31 March 2019, RSM generated revenues of £335m. RSM UK is a member firm of RSM International - the sixth largest network of audit, tax and consulting firms globally. The network spans more than 120 countries, 810 offices and 43,000 people, with a fee income of $5.74bn.

https://www.rsmuk.com/

About EIC
Established in 1943, the EIC is the leading trade association for companies working in the global energy industries. Our member companies, who supply goods and services across the oil and gas, power, nuclear and renewable sectors, have the experience and expertise that operators and contractors require.

As a not-for-profit organisation with offices in key international locations, the EIC’s role is to help members maximise commercial opportunities worldwide.

https://www.the-eic.com/

About Photocentric
Since 2002, Photocentric have been manufacturing photopolymer resin and are patent holders in visible light curing technologies. Over the last 20 years they have innovated in a broad range of applications including office stamps, crystal clear polymer craft stamps and more recently – 3D printing. They applied their understanding of photopolymerization to the visible light part of the spectrum, to unlock the powers of using widely available, high resolution LCD screens in 3D printers. Working with their patented daylight curing process, they invented the use of LCD screens as the selective light source for a 3D printer; a technology today that is disruptive to additive manufacturing.

Driving their LCD developments is their vision - to enable custom mass manufacture. They enable their vision through providing disruptive, fast and large format machines and compatible functional materials. These have been developed for a range of applications, one strong one is dentistry, particularly that of aligner manufacture. Their LC Magna printer enables orthodontists and other dental professionals to batch produce patient specific arches for thermoforming aligners in volume; at a cost, speed and scale previously unknown. Other sectors Photocentric provide solutions for include the entertainment, industrial and figurine industries.

http://https://photocentricgroup.com/

Issued for and on behalf of Xkelet NO PROFIT by Instinctif Partners.
For more information please contact: Tim.watson@instinctif.com

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Tim WatsonPartner